Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Expensive Souvenir

Thursday, I promised the story of our "new" car.

For months, Rob had been pushing me to consider buying a new van.  He thought our 2003 Chrysler Town and Country was getting old.  The doors didn't work reliably.  It had a couple of leaks.  It looked ugly and beat up.

I didn't want a new car.  It's ONLY a 2003.  Who cares if we have to open the doors manually?  Yeah, I put a big dent in one door, but the interior was still in great shape, and it was the most tricked-out vehicle I'd ever had.  I liked not having a car payment.  Plus, we are only a year away from going from four kids at home to two.  I wanted to wait, preferably until the car fell apart of its own accord.  And, in the back of my mind, I knew that if I had to get another van, I wanted another like the one I had, just newer, but preferably used--and maybe around $16K.

Well, in my effort to keep my van running, I took it to the dealer and had them give it a bumper to bumper check to fix any troubles before we went on vacation.  We sunk about $3000 into it, but that's better than a new car, right?  Got the oil changed, too, and in June, we started on our cross-country adventure.

On the second day, the oil light flashed as we pulled out of the hotel parking lot.  Just flashed--once, about 2 seconds, then went off.  So we decided we'd check the oil when we stopped, and if the light came on, we'd pull over.

A couple of hours or so down the road, the car starts a low rattle.  By the time we'd ruled out the cupholders, it was making clunking noises.  (No warning lights--just clunka-clunk). We pulled into the first exit, which fortunately had a truck repair show right off the exit, a gas station, Burger King, and nothing else.

The mechanic only needed a couple of seconds to know that we were about to throw a rod.  The oil had completely burned dry, there were metal flakes in the engine.  He told Rob it was probably the two days of highway driving. In other words, yes, the car fell apart of its own accord.

We're in Oawakville, IL--tiny, midwestern town--and we have to buy a new car.  As they call the Chevy dealer, I have whine, half-laugh at our fate and put in my one request to the Lord, "I just want another Grand Caravan."

The guys from Chevy Streuter came to get us in their Hummer.  Their entire lot was about the size of our yard.  They only had two cars that would meet our needs:  one, a black 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan, prices at $16,000.

Sometimes, I think God likes to give me a surprise.

The salespeople were wonderful.  They detailed the car as I watched, double-checked everything, towed our old car over so we could transfer the stuff, and did everything they could to make us comfortable and get us out quickly on the road to Aunt Sara's house.  The car is terrific, and though it has fewer fun features than my old one, it does have more space, working doors and no dents.

So, aside from the car payment, Rob and I both got our wishes.  And, I'll keep this one until it falls apart of its own accord--though hopefully, not in the middle of another vacation.


Junior Perrera said...

Oh wow, and just when you’d said you’d wait until it started to fall apart! Looks like it really was time to buy a new van, eh? And the one you got was pretty much exactly what you said you wanted ages ago! Whoa! Coincidence? Maybe not. Somebody Up There must really have been listening!

Karina Fabian said...

I think every now and then, God gets a kick out of answering prayers to order.

Sebastian Gaydos said...

Well now! Who would have known that the dealer would have the exact van you said you wanted? Haha! That’s quite the stroke of good luck, considering why you had to buy the new van in the first place, and even THAT fell right into place, didn’t it? Haha! I do hope you enjoy your new van as much as you did with your old one!

Karina Fabian said...

Thanks, Sebastian. It's a good van; I just hope it lasts a while.

Stelle Courney said...

Oh wow, that’s quite the story! It’s a great big mix of serendipity and good timing, isn’t it? Hehe. It’s almost as if it was all part of some plan or schedule that your old car would start to give way because that was the only time that you could get the exact car that you wanted. I wonder if the outcome would still be the same had those events happened a few days later, haha! At least you found a solution, and that solution just turned out to be exactly the one that you wanted!

Simon Schempp said...

Haha, what do I say about the timing of the breaking down of the old car and the price of the new one that hasn’t already been said above? Hehe! I think, in the end, it would have saved you quite a bit more time and money to have bought a new car before it broke down. It’s not always sensible to keep an old car that’s already damaged or hasn’t been repaired because, after a while, the repairs will actually cost more (cumulatively) than a new car. I do hope you enjoy your new car though!

Karina Fabian said...

The thing is, the other car was running fine, the interior was in awesome shape, and the only "damage" was to the door, which did not affect function. The automatic doors had a couple of glitches, but the kids can open their own doors, so it was a no-impact thing. I only put the money into it before vacation because it reassured Rob...but fat lot of good that did us.

Nita Stelling said...

I guess it was really just time for you to buy a new car! Maybe, what was happening was that you were being prevented from getting into some future major accident with the old car. Things happen for a reason, after all. I hope you’ve been enjoying your new car!

Dewey Setlak said...

It’s strange how your car just sort of suddenly decided to give way, but maybe, it was really just time for a new car. It’s great that you got exactly the car that you have wanted for a while now! So how is your new car compared to your previous one? I hope it’s treating you well.

Karina Fabian said...

It's doing fine, though we all agree we liked the other car better. I'm paying more than the monthly payments to get it paid off ASAP.